Plagiarizing Photo Grabber Pleads to Keep Cash Prize

UP DIliman graduate student Mark Joseph Solis (second from right) won a national photo contest by passing an image taken by Gregory John Smith as his own work. (Photo by Carlos Celdran)
UP DIliman graduate student Mark Joseph Solis (second from right) won a national photo contest by passing an image taken by Gregory John Smith as his own work. (Photo by Carlos Celdran)
UP DIliman graduate student Mark Joseph Solis (second from right) won a national photo contest by passing an image taken by Gregory John Smith as his own work.  (Photo by Carlos Celdran)
UP DIliman graduate student Mark Joseph Solis (2nd from right) won a national photo contest by passing an image taken by Gregory John Smith as his own work.  (Photo by Carlos Celdran)


This word hounded the Infamous University of the Philippines (UP) Masters in Public Administration Student Mark Solis after issuing an appeal to keep the monetary prize of $1000 which he won during the Smiles for the World contest, sponsored by the Embassy of Chile.

In a TV interview, Solis cited poverty as his main reason in joining the contest and the reason why he wants to keep the prize money.

“Hirap din sa buhay. In fact ngayon, hindi pa ako nakakabayad ng tuition ko sa UP.” He said.

He also stated that the lure of travelling abroad, the big cash reward and the “youthful lapse of judgment” resorted Solis to “misrepresents himself”.

Along with his mother Amelia, they welcomed the crew in their modest home which they also opened for rent as their source of income.

A lot are quick to react and retort Solis’ claims, especially his former boss, Project Officer of the Development Academy of the Philippines Maricris Valte.  She challenged the fact-finding committee of UP to conduct a thorough investigation and lifestyle check on Solis.

“I want to puke! I’ve seen his house in Las Pinas and the venue of the GMA-7 interview doesn’t look anything close to his house. He has more expensive gadgets than I have! At magkano ba naman ang tuition fee sa UP? Mas mahal pa yung Docksides niya kesa sa 3 units, at mas mahal pa ang i-pad niya kesa sa 9 units sa NCPAG!” She said on her facebook account.

Solis, whose photo of a boy smiling while gathering seaweeds won the grand prize, even attended the awarding ceremony which was regarded as “shameless” by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

CCP was one of the sponsors of the Chile’s Calidad Humana Project. In an open letter, they said that Solis “not only violated the rights of the photographer but also taking advantage of the plight of typhoon victims whom he claimed as subject.”

The artistic crime of Solis was only revealed when photographer Gregory John Smith posted in his Facebook account that he owns the picture which he uploaded in his Flickr account, an image-sharing site.

 “I would like to see Solis translate his words into some solid action to benefit the children he has so irresponsibly abused by taking their image and publishing it freely as one of his own property.” Smith said.

Also, it was found out that Solis did not just do it once. Not just twice.

But for over five times.

Solis also won the Office of the Presidential Adviser of the Peace Process (OPAPP) 2011 Photo contest which he grabbed from Flickr and passed it as his own. OPAPP Legal Security and Unit Head Jomer Aquino said that once they have proven of the image-grabbing actions of Solis, they will not hesitate to exercise legal action to rectify his wrongdoings.

Meanwhile, UP is now taking action through their fact-finding committee to deliberate on what actions to be carried out on Solis. Especially since his plagiarism expose’ has tainted the image of the school. They are going to make recommendations on the 3rd of October.

 Source 1 Source 2 Source 3 Source 4



  1. He sounds crazy. The fact that he
    already committed plagiarism, he also tries to create a drama as his reason in
    the crime he did. I don’t know him well but based on the news and articles
    about him, he really sound crazy, not the kind of mentally ill person but a
    desperate one. I remember him in one of Sen. Miriam Santiago’s joke that you
    can tell that a politician is lying when he starts to open his mouth.

    • Ganun naman lagi dito sa atin diba. Whenever all sorts of things are being thrown at somebody, chances are either that person turns into a best actor nominee in telling people how pathetic he/she is or biglang magsulputan ang lahat ng sakit to earn sympathy.

  2. “A lot are quick to react and retort Solis’ claims,”
    “…the “youthful lapse of judgment” resorted Solis to “misrepresents himself”.
    “Aquino said that once they have proven of the image-grabbing actions of Solis…”

    Would someone please edit this short article before publishing? Such a short piece, so many mistakes!

    • Naka quotes kasi gusto ng writer maging truthful sa pag report niya. Kung si manny pacquiao wrong grammar magsalita, mas may dating kung sabihin ko sinabi niya word for word

    • Thanks for the constructive comments sir!

      As what Mr. Ryan Santos has said,the writer inserted the “youthful lapse of judgment” and “misrepresents himself” from the quotes of different people involved in the issue, mostly coming from Solis. Those are verbatim. It is to provide a more thorough description regarding his predicament.

      As for some grammatical issues, rest assured that we will revise whatever we have missed during the editing process.

      Thank you.

      • “…the “youthful lapse of judgment” resorted Solis to “misrepresent(s) himself”. Put the “s” in a bracket to make the sentence correct grammatically. But still, the use of the word “resorted” isn’t apt in this case. Compelled, forced or drove are just some words that could’ve been used instead.


    • You should check the sources sir. If that’s what you saw sa Unang Hirit, then that’s the follow-up story. This was based on the Phil. Star news, GMA-7 Interview and ABS-CBN Online News. We do not make up news to sensationalize them.

    • What exactly is your last sentence supposed to mean? ‘Don’t be harsh, he’s still a Filipino’. Are you implying that being a Filipino gives you a free-pass for plagiarizing, stealing and lying?
      It is exactly this kind of ‘anything goes’ mentality that spawns crooks of the sort that are so abundant in national politics.

    • Fuck boy your screwed in the mind… Hes’s giving as per your statement is still undecided or maybe you meant gave be?

      I hope he goes to jail, and spend all the time in the world thinking about hes actions just like that senator who translated in tagalog and told the world it was his. Plus this was not the first time he did this, so why the hell are you defending him.

  4. Expel him from UP. There are other schools he could attend to. He does not deserve to be in UP. The venue where he was interviewed was planned so they would look poor and getaway from shame and earn sympathy from the people. They have scripted their dialogues. He has done this kind of crime so many times… he is a born criminal. a common thief. why would people share his own shame? he deserves every battery people give. he wants fame?… well, he got it.

  5. He obviously has skewed values. Does not seem to really feel remorse for his crime since he tried to ‘make palusot” by citing poverty as his motivation, yun pala palabas din. Really shameless & pathetic. I’m not as hopeful as the Chilean ambassador that this boy will change for the better.

  6. May batas sa Pilipinas to prosecute him?Pwde ba syang sampahan ng kaso para madisplina at matauhan sya sa pinaggagawa nya. He has done it several time and he has the guts to do it again.

  7. He’s better off than the kids he “took photos of”. Now he wants to keep the prize money? lol Subukan niyang ilagay ang sarili niya sa position nila, baka umapaw pa ang pagiging grateful niya dahil nakapag-aral siya. Hay naku.

  8. Let’s call a spade a spade here: No amount of excuse or alibi can justify a blatant case of plagiarism specially when done knowingly and with willful intent to deceive. Plea for poverty? C’mon, that’s the lamest excuse. You got brains and an education – use them!

  9. if that boy did these actions at a very young age, just imagine what he could have done when he gets old. good thing it was discovered as early as today. otherwise, he would have been another Filipino who thinks he can get away with everything. Forgiven, yes. But i doubt this could be easily forgotten. This wrongdoing will forever haunt him so he’d better stay on the right path and keep walking through it in the remainders of his life.

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